Oral History Readings
The NYC Public Schools Study of Teachers College, Columbia University, invited the twelve authors of this volume—all currently enrolled in NYC high schools—to use the methods of oral history to interview their peers. As the title beautifully suggests, “This is Where I Need to Be” speaks of the mixture of moments and spaces that situate individual Muslim identities: a masjid (neighborhood mosque); a school art room; a social studies classroom; a volleyball court; even a Latin dance class. Other moments take us to a grocery store check-out counter, an airport security room, or simply to a living room in someone’s home. And then there are the identities of today shaped by memories of yesterday, places like Bangladesh, Egypt, Gambia, Guyana, Kosovo, and Yemen, to name a few.
These oral histories document everyday lives and identities anchored in race, ethnicity, gender and class as much as they are by religiosity. The twelve oral historians went after their interviews with all the exuberance of cub reporters and endeavored to capture genuine pieces of everyday moments—some perfectly ordinary, some poignant, others aggravating—in the lives of fellow teenagers for whom “looking” Muslim can scare up a suspicious gaze or a look of disdain.
Video Segments of Students Reading from the Book
The following section offers readings from the students who participated in the oral history book project This is Where I need to Be: Oral Histories of Muslim Youth.
Hoda Zawam is a seventeen-year-old Arab American student born in Egypt and is in the 11th grade in Brooklyn. Click here to view Hoda's reading of the oral history of Hagar Omran.
Quainat Zaman is a fifteen-year-old South Asian American student of Pakistani ancestry in the 10th grade at a high school in Staten Island. Click here to view Quainat Zaman's reading of the oral history of Fanta Camara.
Amna Ahmad is a seventeen-year-old Arab American of Palestinian ancestry in the 11th grade at a high school in Manhattan. Click here to view Amna's reading of the oral history of Taseen Ferdous.
Omar Ahmad is a fifteen-year-old Arab American of Palestinian ancestry in the 10th grade at a high school in Manhattan. Click here to view Omar's reading of the oral history of Mubashir Billah.